Murphy’s calls itself a steak house, but to us it looks more like a diner: counter and stools, bare-tabled booths, and a staff of waitresses who git ‘er done. The menu does include steaks, and those that we’ve seen on other people’s plates look large and good. Nevertheless, it’s not for steak that we recommend a visit to this 1940s-era eatery just east of the Osage Indian reservation. It is for a hot hamburger.
If you have pictured in your head some sort of beef patty in some sort of bun, erase that picture and consider this: pieces of toasted white bread spread out on a plate topped with a large hamburger that has been hacked into pieces, the burger topped with a mountain of French fries, and the French fries topped with a large spill of dark, beefy gravy as rich as a Mexican mole. It’s a magic combination, especially the way the crisp logs of fried potato soften in places where the gravy blankets them, imbibing a rich beefy savor for which squiggles of onion (an optional component) are an ideal accent. Even folks who come for steak instead of chopped-up hamburger know to order a side dish of fried potatoes with gravy.
Variations on the theme include a hot cheeseburger, hot beef, hot steak, and hot ham.
The front of Murphy’s menu is emblazoned with a motto that is one of our favorites: “Gravy Over All.” When anyone orders a hot hamburger, the motto becomes a question. The waitress asks, “Gravy over all?” We can’t imagine saying no.